Every year, millions of girls and young women in Egypt have their bodies and rights violated by female genital mutilation (FGM). Learn what UNDP and our partners are doing to end this harmful practice. Hear the voices of people who are fighting to tell a new story: the protection of Egyptian women and girls.
Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation and Empowering Families
What is this project about?
The Joint Programme (JP) was signed in September 2009 by the Ministry of Family and Population (MoFP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Under the guidance of the MoFP and through the National Population Council (NPC), this joint programme aims to create sustainable political, legal and social change to empower families and communities to abandon FGM practices along with other forms of family/domestic violence. The overall objective of the programme is to strengthen, enhance and consolidate the achievements that have already taken place in abolishing FGM and to further mainstream the fight against FGM through scaling-up activities, enhancing partnerships and coordination mechanisms, strengthening monitoring and evaluation activities and expanding current advocacy and communication strategies.
The JP builds on previous national achievements of the National Anti-FGM task force, which resulted in placing FGM and other forms of traditional family violence as priority issues on Egypt’s National Development Agenda. The NPC has been supported by various bilateral donors including the Netherlands and GIZ, along with several UN agencies including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP,) the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). The European Union (EU) became a key stakeholder in the programme starting end of 2011.
What have we accomplished so far?
- The first phase of the FGM Programme has heavily contributed to the passing of the law criminalizing FGM in June 2008. The Programme helped break the silence and succeeded in mobilizing various segments of the Egyptian society and in establishing a network of citizens who are willing to combat FGM. It succeeded in developing the capacities of media personnel (TV, Radio, Press, Internet), to play a supporting role in disseminating messages against FGM, which successfully stimulated a national debate on the issue. Anti-FGM voices were mobilized on the ground who urged others in their communities to denounce the practice. This was done in partnership with line ministries like the Ministries of Health, Education, Awkaf, Al-Azhar University, Dar El Iftaa', all of which made efforts towards integrating anti-FGM in their programs and curricula.
- 70 villages made a strong stance against FGM since the start of the old phase of the project in 2003
- A 5-year “National Strategy for FGM Abandonment” is being finalized combining the efforts of all national and international partners.
- As shown by the 2014 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), 92% of ever-married women between 15-49 years have been circumcised. However, the percentage of circumcised girls between 15 and 17 has dropped from 74 percent in 2008 to 61 percent in 2014. In addition, the DHS shows a significant change in mothers’ attitudes, since from a total of 92 percent circumcised mothers only 35 percent of them intend to circumcise their daughters.
Mainstreaming of anti-FGM discourse in line ministries:
- A training program was launched for District Attorneys (senior and middle level) on FGM detriments starting December 2014 in collaboration with UNFPA. Thus far, 5 courses were held with an average of 20-25 district attorney. In November 2014, a 2-day training workshop was organized for 220 newly appointed District Attorneys on FGM detriments;
- Training courses were conducted for El Kasr El Ainy house officers on FGM detriments from a comprehensive perspective. Training activities have, also, encompassed doctors and nurses. In addition, an anti-FGM medical curriculum was printed and an Anti-FGM Manual for Doctors was launched and is being mainstreamed by the Ministry of Health;
- In August 2014, the Joint Programme launched the Family Rights Platform that brings in 50-55 journalists and media personnel including artists, social media experts, TV personnel and social development experts.
- A Family Rights Declaration was developed in collaboration with civil society, the media and religious organizations and was adopted by Al Azhar. The joint programme worked extensively with the media and religious institutions to counter conservative messages against the denouncing of FGM and the attack on the FGM Law. This was done through a strong media campaign on all major talk shows and key newspapers. Activities also included the organizations of media events to emphasize the detriments of FGM and highlight the Family Rights declaration developed by the project in collaboration with civil society. Lawyers were mobilized to defend the Anti-FGM law which resulted in a court verdict validating the law.
Strengthening and expanding the operational and regulatory environment to promote the abandonment of FGM
- The program established a task force with experts from the Ministry of Education, NPC and curricula experts to revise entirely curriculums of primary, secondary and preparatory schools for Arabic and Social Studies thus incorporating messages on gender rights, family rights and FGM abandonment. The Ministry of Education approved incorporated input of task force and the Minister of Education announced changes to the press.
- Anti-FGM and Empowerment Community Campaigns have been coordinated, at village and governorate levels, through 20 national NGOs in 10 governorates. The NGOs are, also, responsible for creating civil society synergies at the lower levels with the community development associations that enable larger organizations to implement their programs at village level. The project strategy on the ground focuses on targeting young generations in schools or newly married families with girls at risk of undergoing FGM, thus many community campaigns focus on education and youth services provided at village level.
Advocacy and Communication
- An Anti-FGM media TV campaign was launched, where two TV spots were produced so far. Printing of promotional materials and billboards with anti-FGM messages took place. In addition a Communication Strategy for Family Empowerment was launched through the establishment of the first Media Platform for Family Rights in August 2014.
Who finances this project?
The European Union (EU)
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)
Government of Netherlands
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Delivery in previous fiscal year
- Project start date:
- Estimated end date:
- Geographic coverage:
- 10 governorates in addition to Cairo since the project also works at the central level with ministries, governmental institutions and coalitions of NGOs
- Focus Area:
- Democratic Governance
- Goal 3- Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
- Project Officer:
- Heba Wafa
- National Population Council (Ministry of Health)